An inspirational Tooting mum who founded a Wandsworth-based charity which aims to empower people with autism has received an honorary OBE for her services to education.

BeyondAutism founder and chair of trustees Karen Sorab, 55, has been recognised for her services to education and her lasting impact on the lives of children and young people with autism.

Karen founded Rainbow Charity (now called BeyondAutism) in 2000 because there were no autism-specific schools in the area at that time.

She drove its growth from a small classroom for three pupils into a charity running two independent schools educating 80 students aged four to 19 as well as other educational and training services.

She said: “I am honoured and humbled to be granted this award. It is a tribute to all our staff who worked tirelessly day after day to deliver an outstanding education to our students.

“I am extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to the growth and success of our charity. Most of all I am exceptionally proud of the achievements of all of our students both past and present, they never cease to amaze me and they make everything worthwhile.”

Mrs Sorab has lived in the Tooting Common area since 1999 and been a Wandsworth resident for around 34 years after living in Dublin previously.

The mother of a daughter who also has autism, she worked unpaid as BeyondAutism’s chief executive for 15 years and now sits as the chair of trustees.